College students’ social networks influence their beliefs regarding the safety of influenza vaccines and decisions about vaccination, according to a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
For the online survey, students were asked to identify four people with whom they discuss health matters. The students who believed their parents, spouses or friends were supportive of vaccination reported were also the ones with higher beliefs in vaccine safety. They were more likely to intend to get the flu vaccine.
The study is based on responses from more than 1,000 undergraduates at a large public university in Georgia. Demographics of the participants closely match those of the university’s diverse student body.
“We cannot observe the flow of vaccine information within discussion networks,” making it hard to determine who influences who.
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